Jardine gives 'flying' Sepal a ringing endorsement for repeat in Silver Bell
Ladbrokes Lanark Silver Bell Handicap | 1m4f | 3yo + | RUK
Sepal has to overcome a massive hike in the weights and a much different preparation if she is to repeat last year's win in Scotland's most historic race, but trainer Iain Jardine was delighted with her recent comeback and reports she has been flying since.
Twelve months ago Sepal raced off a mark of 74, including a double penalty from which apprentice Jamie Gormley deducted 7lb, and she was at the top of her game having won her two most recent starts by six and seven lengths.
This time she runs off top weight and a mark of 90 and Gormley's claim is down to 3lb, so it could be argued she's 20lb higher. Also she has run only once this year, albeit promisingly.
Explaining her long absence Jardine, who has a solid second string in Jabbaar, said: "We tried to get her in foal but unfortunately it didn't hold and so she came back into training. That's why she was late coming back, but we fancied her to run well at Ayr on her return and she did. She has been flying at home since.
"It was a mile and a quarter on good ground at Ayr, and this longer trip and soft ground is much more up her street."
He added: "Jabbaar is a decent horse as well and I hope he'll run a good race too. He's another who likes a bit of juice."
Ideal conditions for Baydar
Baydar is another who comes into the race fresher than most and he was having only his second start of the year when not disgraced behind stablemate Saunter at Newmarket this month on his return from a break.
What makes the Ian Williams-trained five-year-old all the more attractive is his record with give in the ground. He boasts three wins and a second from only four outings with 'soft' in the going description.
Varian's Zeelander out to end seconditis
Roger Varian has had only 12 runners at Hamilton in the last five seasons, but three of them have won and have picked up decent prize-money.
Zeelander certainly has the form to be involved in the finish. He has had a frustrating run of fast-ground seconds at York (two) and Sandown this season and Varian will have his fingers crossed the easier underfoot conditions suit and that this time the colt can take the lion's share of the race's £36,000, which has been raised £10,000 since last year.
Greenock Morton's cat on prowl in mascot race
The build-up to the contest, which is the centrepiece of the track's last Friday evening meeting of the season, will begin with the highly anticipated return of the Ladbrokes SPFL Mascot Race.
The sponsors make the 2016 winner, Greenock Morton’s Cappie the Cat, the favourite at 7-4, with Hamilton Accies’ Hammy the Hamster and Motherwell’s Steelman both 10-1.
What they say
Ian Williams, trainer of Baydar
He's been badly out of form but he's shown a liking for soft ground in the past and that might spark a revival. He didn't run too badly at Newmarket last time where he was effectively 6lb wrong at the weights.
Karen McLintock, trainer of Zabeel Star
He's been well all year and he's in good form still, but he's up in the weights now and I'd like it to dry out a bit. If it's on the soft side it will be a concern.
Ivan Furtado, trainer of Belisa
She's a nice progressive filly and she needs this cut in the ground. She wants a good pace but we are pretty hopeful, although it's competitive.
Joe Tuite, trainer of Fast Dancer
He's solid and consistent, and he's been crying out for the bit of cut he's going to get at last. I just hope he gets a bit of luck.
Jedd O'Keeffe, trainer of Desert Ruler
He's been running well all year and we've had this in mind for a while. He wouldn't want it bottomless but he likes a bit of cut so the ground should suit.
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